Level 1: Batch & Queue Manufacturing
Running multiple pieces of a job through the first
operation and then moving those items forward to the next operation
before they are all actually needed there. Thus items need to wait in
a queue. This method is commonly used for making small quantities of
parts. Also called "Batch-and-Push." Contrast with continuous
flow and other technology levels below.
The video illustrates the capabilities of visual technologies applied
to solving the problems associated with representing a model of proposed
process improvements. The video uses animation technology of a real-world
example of a die shop processing ten unique, but similar progressive
die cutting steels. Other visual technologies include simulation, which
is planned for the Batch & Queue Video in the future, and virtual
reality, which will be used to train operators on ergonomic issues.
The operators may be human or robotic.
Level 2: Continuous Flow Production
In its purest form continuous flow means that items
are processed and moved directly to the next process one piece at a
time. Each processing step completes its work just before the next process
needs the item, and the transfer batch is one. Also known as "one-piece
flow" and "make one, move one".
Level 3: Cellular Manufacturing
An arrangement of people, machines, materials and
methods such that processing steps are adjacent and in sequential order
so that parts can be processed one at a time (or in some cases in a
constant small batch that is maintained through the process sequence).
The purpose of a cell is to achieve and maintain efficient continuous
flow and eliminating substantially all of the transport distance and
Level 4: High-Speed, Horizontal Spindle CNC
Machines with Pallet Changers
This highest manufacturing tech level requires
very accurate, costly CNC machines capable of holding tolerances of
a few microns with high RPM spindles and include pallet changers for
all but eliminating internal setup time for maximum chip-making time.
The key to achieving the highest ROI is to keep the machine as busy